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Geriatric consultation service in emergency department: how does it work?


Background Hong Kong is having a significant prevalence of geriatric patients who usually require admission after presentation to the hospital through emergency departments. The geriatric consultation programme ‘We Care’ aims at lowering acute geriatric medical admission.

Objectives The study aims at analysing the impact of the geriatric consultation service on the acute medical admission, and to study the characteristics and outcome of geriatric patients.

Methods Retrospective study. Patients who received geriatric consultations during 1 January 2009 to 1 March 2011 were enrolled. The demographic information, diseases case mix, venue of discharge, clinical severity, community nursing service referrals and adverse outcomes were retrieved and analysed. The incidence of adverse outcomes under the presence of each factor was studied.

Results 2202 geriatric patients were referred. Their age ranged from 45 to 99 (mean 79.91, SD 7.45, median 80). These cases were categorised into: (1) chronic pulmonary disease (n=673; 30.6%), (2) debilitating cardiac disease (n=526; 23.9%), (3) geriatric syndromes (n=147; 6.7%), (4) neurological problems (n=416; 18.9%), (5) diabetes-related problems (n=146; 6.6%), (6) terminal malignancy (n=39; 1.8%), (7) electrolyte or input/output disturbance (n=137; 6.2%), (8) non-respiratory infections (n=36, 1.6%) and (9) others (n=82; 3.7%). Acute medical admission was evaded in 84.7% of all consultations with 1039 (47.2%) patients discharged home and 825 patients (37.5%) admitted to convalescent hospital. The incidence rate of adverse outcomes was 1.6%.

Conclusion Programme ‘We Care’ provided comprehensive geriatric assessment to suitable geriatric patients, resulting in an effective reduction of acute geriatric hospital admission.

  • Aged
  • admission avoidance
  • emergency department management
  • triage
  • emergency department

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